The ‘House Guest’ podcast by publication Country & Townhouse, is where the magazine’s Interiors Editor Carole Annett chats with experts from the world of interior design and decoration – the people behind the houses and hotels you see in magazines like Country & Townhouse. On Episode 28, Carole talks to our Creative Director, Tim Murray on our design process, and the importance of creativity;
“Design should have a little bit of fun, a little bit of whimsy about it, and I don’t want to be too serious…Fundamentally, a good design is something that makes you happy, that can just be a wonderfully lit space, or it could be … pushing a button and something unexpected happening.” – Tim Murray, Creative Director.
A Journey of Design
We work with a linear design process – a journey to take the client on – we get to know each other, where they’ve come from in terms of their design, who they are, hotels that they’ve been to, restaurants that they dine in, and fashion brands they like. With this we build up a tapestry of all the aesthetic things that they have seen and love, but don’t necessarily know how to combine to make them work into the vision that they have of their home. The clients that come to us, who are prepared to talk to us about themselves, the things they really like, and be open and honest about what they do/don’t like, will get the best out of us as designers. The inspiration for the best design always comes from the client, and its their ideas that creates interiors that we like working on, and the client enjoys living in – and feels involved in this process.
Once we have spent time getting to know the client and have created a brief, we move onto making a ‘Vision Statement’. This is a collation of their ideas, with an addition of a few of our own too, and we try and set the core of what the philosophy of the project is going to be – and what the real design aspirations of it are. Then we move onto drawings, space planning, multiple fabrics that we will reference back to this vision statement, selecting furniture pieces, and getting a real feel to what it is going to be. Then it is a case of talking through the direction we are going in making sure that the concepts are approved by the client and works for what they want to do.
Importance of Creativity
Creativity is important, and rather than imposing an idea on the client it’s more about crafting and composing from the thoughts of the client. For instance, utilising the space well – we have an example of this in our studio. A table that with the press of the button, turns into a desk with raised plug sockets. This is perfect for a client that does not want a dedicated office space in the house or in a room, so it can be used or hidden away when required.
We believe in a blend of bespoke and select pieces, but getting the highest quality in bespoke, tailoring to the design. Crafted woodwork for example, when you have commissioned this as a client it gives a sense of value as to the amount of time spent, that it will last forever, and that there is more substance to it. And perhaps you treasure it more when it has been made especially for you. We give the clients photographs of the manufacturers in process, to show its progress, how its being made and the time and effort that has gone into the piece of furniture. We predominantly use British designers and there is a great heritage of joinery making within the country.
We have a rolling internship programme and take on interns on a 6-week basis, the details are on our website here. We have an internship programme with The Inchbald School of Design, and a lot of our team have come from this design school. Alongside this, we have a sponsored placement ‘Helen Green Design Foundation, to join the Inchbald School of Design, more details about this here.
Final Comments About Helen Green Design
Helen Green doesn’t need to be glitzy, and we are not ostentatious. We are sophisticated, not a pompous sophisticated, but an approachable sophistication – you can see the design and appreciate that it is considered, and it has a subtle elegance to it that really embodies who we are and what we are. The design genre might change slightly from project to project but still has that subtle sophistication.
Listen to the podcast here.